Your Incessant Picture Snapping Is Actually Ruining Your Memory

A new study reveals that your endless efforts to capture the moment just leaves you without memory of one

Sorry friends, but the hundreds (maybe thousands) of pictures saved on your phone may have ruined your ability to remember.

Researchers have discovered that our recollections of events are clouded due to continuous picture taking. “We’re kind of counting on our technology to keep our memories,” says Linda Henkel, a psychologist at Fairfield University, in an article posted on NBC News.com. “We collect photos almost as if they’re trophies, or evidence, but that’s not the same thing as trying to capture the experience.”

Study experts gathered volunteers at a museum and asked them to snap photos of some objects and to “just” observe others. When quizzed about their experiences in the museum the following day, the people had difficulty recalling the objects photographed (sometimes forgetting the piece of art all together), yet they could remember details about the items they looked at sans smartphone.

However, in experiment number two, the participants were instructed to take close range shots of particular areas of artwork and remembered everything during the memory test.

Translation: Henkel believes this study exemplifies the way we should our lives — zoom in on the important stuff and simply take in everything else. For example, she says to refrain from filming your favorite song at the next concert you attend and simply “look at the stage, and be in the moment instead of the representation of the moment.”

All I can say is bravo to Ms. Henkel and her fellow researchers for this information. It is impossible for me to count the number of times I have been sitting with a friend who has been playing with their cell phone for minutes on end. I’ll say something, ask something but my words go unheard because they are too wrapped up in taking a picture and/or posing for a selfie, or waiting for people's comments about the nothingness they posted on social media.

Not only does this happen on a regular basis, it happens just about everywhere — concerts, dinners, lectures, cooking demos, work events, coffee shops. While I may not be the most exciting company, I’d like to think I’m more engaging than a photograph. Or, at least a little more memorable.

Come to think of it, maybe I should start snapping away the minute they become engrossed with their picture taking. It just may help me to forget the moment.

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